Different types of butter are used for cooking, baking, and even sculpted in the likeness of great people at the fair.
Butter is produced by agitating cream or whole milk leaving a solid clump of the fats. The liquid that separates from the solids is called buttermilk.
Agitating the cream till the solids separate and form is called churning.
Butter is used as a condiment as well as an ingredient for cooking and baking. Commercial butter is usually made from cow’s milk but can be made from other mammals as well such as goat, sheep or buffalo.
Butter in the US sometimes has salt added while butter in Europe is mostly salt free.
Butter is an emulsion of butterfat and water at about 80% fat to 15% water. It remains a solid at refrigerated temperatures, softens at room temperature and
Types of Butter
Cultured butter is made from fermented cream. The fermentation turns sugars into lactic acid giving the final product a sharp flavor. This is how European butter is produced and some types are being produced this way in the US now as well.
Salt was added to butter as a preservative originally. In addition salt adds flavor to both cultured and uncultured butters. Be aware of the type of butter your recipe calls for. You cannot substitute salted for unsalted butter.
Fermented butter is used in Middle Eastern cuisine and ages up to two years. It is usually mixed with herbs served as a spread.
Raw Cream Butter
Butter in its purest form made from raw unpasteurized cream, straight from the cow.
Sweet Cream Butter
Made from pasteurized cream and comes in salted and unsalted. This is the typical butter you find in US groceries.
Simmer butter until the milk fats separate and sink. Skim off the butter, throw away the milk fats at the bottom and you have clarified butter.
Butter without fat has a higher smoke point or temperature that butter will burn. Clarified butter is used in cooking techniques requiring higher temperatures or longer cooking times. Ghee or clarified butter is an essential ingredient in Indian cuisine. Clarified butter mixed with olive oil raises the smoke point for sauteing.
The fats in butter is the first to spoil and turn rancid. Ghee keeps longer in the kitchen. Clarified butter is healthier for you as well.
The downside, fat adds flavor to different types of butter.
Sweet cream butter is uncultured butter.
Adding nitrogen gas produces whipped butter. Whipped butter spreads easier because it holds in refrigeration.
European Style Butter
Cultured butter and some specialty type of butters made for pastry making and baking.
A product that has a high melting point and keeps for longer periods. Used mainly in areas of higher temperatures.
Used in ice cream making.
Butter and vegetable oils mixed to make a spreadable product at refrigerator temperatures. Dairy blends are required to contain at least 50% dairy.
Other types of Reduced Fat Spreads
Lower percentage of fat from dairy at around 30% with remainder of ingredients being flavorings, water and oils.